Meeting Children’s Health Needs

There are additional requirements for early childhood services when a child who has a diagnosed health care need, allergy or relevant medical condition.

This page provides iadvice to services about reviewing the policies, procedures a​nd documentation on diagnosed health care needs, allergies and medical conditions. ​

​ This page is current as of 16 October 2017.

​An important objective of the National Quality Framework is to ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of all children attending education and care services. It is important that services have the required policies and procedures in place for managing diagnosed health care needs, allergies and relevant medical conditions and it is recommended that there is a process in place for ensuring they are reviewed on a regular basis.

With the enrolment of new children at a service, it is important for services to ensure that all prescribed information in relation to diagnosed health care needs, allergies and relevant medical conditions is collected from parents and included on the child’s enrolment record. 

Services should also review the enrolment record of children that are continuing to attend the service from the previous year for accuracy and to ensure that the service is aware of any changes to a child’s health information.

Child enrolment record

Before the service commences operation for the year, a review of both existing and new enrolment records should be conducted to ensure that all of the relevant information relating to diagnosed health care needs, allergies and relevant medical conditions is current. For example, the status of the child’s allergy and any medications required.

For a child enrolled at the service who has a diagnosed health care need, allergy or relevant medical condition, the health information kept in the enrolment record as prescribed by regulation 162, must include:

  • details of any diagnosed health care needs of the child, including any medical condition and allergies, including whether the child has been diagnosed as at risk of anaphylaxis
  • any medical management plan, anaphylaxis medical management plan or risk minimisation plan to be followed with respect to a diagnosed health care need, allergy or medical condition and details of any dietary restrictions for the child.

A checklist which may be useful to services in reviewing and creating enrolment records is available in the Enrolment records fact sheet.

For more information, see: Children with medical conditions attending education and care services

Authorisations and medication

Services must ensure that prior to a child commencing at the service; the required authorisations have been sought and are kept on the child’s enrolment record. This includes details of any person who is authorised to consent to medical treatment or administration of medication to the child (regulations 160 and 161).

In regards to the administration of medication to children with a medical condition, the service must have a procedure that follows the requirements of regulation 95. If a service provides education and care to children over preschool age, then they may permit the child to self-administer medication as long as the medical conditions policy includes practices for this (regulation 96).

These procedures require that both prescription and non-prescription medication be administered before the expiry or use by date. As such, it is recommended that not only before administering medication but also at the start of each year and on a regular basis, services review all medication stored at the service and ensure that the expiry or use by date has not passed. Services should also ensure that any medication provided by a child’s parent is clearly labelled with the child’s name, in its original container and is not expired or passed the use by date.

The administration of medication requires services to keep a medication record that sets out the details required in regulation 92(3) and services must ensure that staff members are aware of this record and understand how to complete the record.

Staff first aid qualifications and training

As part of this review process it is recommended that services assess the types of diagnosed health care needs, allergies and medical conditions that children at the service have been diagnosed with and determine whether the current training and available resources are sufficient to ensure these needs are appropriately managed.

Centre-based services

Centre-based services must ensure that at least one educator who holds the following qualifications is in attendance at any place where children are being educated and cared for by the service, and is immediately available in an emergency, at all times that children are being educated and cared for by the service (regulation 136(1)):

  • has a current approved first aid qualification
  • has undertaken current approved anaphylaxis management training
  • has undertaken approved emergency asthma management training.

A person may hold one or more of the above qualifications.

If the service is providing education and care on a school site, then this requirement may be met if the educator or a staff member of the school (for example, the school nurse) are in attendance at the school site and are immediately available in an emergency (regulation 136(2)).

Family day care services

A family day care service must ensure that each family day care educator and family day care educator assistant engaged or registered with the service (regulation 136(3)):

  • holds a current approved first aid qualification
  • has undertaken current approved anaphylaxis management training
  • has undertaken current approved emergency asthma management training.

Each family day care educator and family day care educator assistant must hold all three qualifications.

Review of first aid qualifications and training

It is the responsibility of the approved provider to assess the first aid qualification of an educator, family day care educator or family day care educator assistant to ensure it is an approved first aid qualification as per the list of approved qualifications published on the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) website.

For more information, see: Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority

In regards to the anaphylaxis management training and emergency asthma management training, the approved provider must ensure that the educator has completed the required training and that it is approved training as per the list of approved qualifications published on the ACECQA website.

For more information, see: Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority

Services should also have a process in place for regularly reviewing the first aid qualifications and training of educators to ensure that they are current and will remain current for the period that the educator will be engaged at the service.

The first aid, anaphylaxis management training and emergency asthma management training required must be updated at least every three years from the date of completion. The first aid certificate may specify additional requirements to keep it valid. For example, if the first aid certificate requires the CPR component to be completed every 12 months to keep it current, further training will be required.

For more information, see: First Aid, Anaphylaxis and Asthma Management

First aid kits

It is recommended that services conduct an audit of the first aid kits available at the service on a regular basis to ensure that they meet the requirements of regulation 89(1), including for centre-based services:

  • there is an appropriate number available
  • they are suitably equipped
  • they are easily recognisable and readily accessible to adults.

For family day care services, the requirements of regulation 89(2) should be reviewed to ensure that the first aid kit is:

  • suitably equipped
  • easily recognisable
  • readily accessible.

Medical conditions policy

The purpose of the medical conditions policy is to set out the service’s practices in relation to all of the components listed in regulation 90, including:

  • requiring the parent of a child to provide a medical management plan
  • requiring the development of a risk minimisation plan and all of the information it must contain.

Every service must have a medical conditions policy in place (regulation 168) in compliance with regulation 90 which includes detailed requirements about what the medical conditions policy must contain. The medical conditions policy applies at any time that a child with a diagnosed health care need, allergy or relevant medical condition is being educated and cared for by an education and care service, including during excursions.

A copy of the medical conditions policy must also be provided to the parent of a child enrolled at the service who has a diagnosed health care need, allergy or relevant medical condition (regulation 91) and it is recommended that services ensure this is done before the commencement of a child’s attendance at the service.

Parents of children enrolled at the service must be notified at least 14 days before making any change to the medical conditions policy, if the change may have a significant impact on the service's provision of education and care to any child enrolled at the service, or the family's ability to utilise the service (regulation 172).

It is important that services regularly review the medical conditions policy for accuracy and to ensure that it addresses all of the required information in regulation 90. The service must ensure that all staff members and any volunteers are advised of the existence of the medical conditions policy, understand its application and ensure that it is followed  (regulation 170).

Further details regarding the medical conditions policy is available in the Children with medical conditions attending education and care services fact sheet.

For more information, see: Children with medical conditions attending education and care services

Medical management and risk minimisation plans

Prior to a child with a diagnosed health care need, allergy or relevant medical condition commencing at any service the parents must provide a medical management plan and develop a risk minimisation plan with the service.

These documents should include the information outlined in the Children with medical conditions attending education and care services fact sheet.

For more information, see: Children with medical conditions attending education and care services

It is important that these two documents are viewed as an overarching plan for managing a child’s diagnosed health care need, allergy or relevant medical condition. It is expected that the service use the process of developing a risk minimisation plan with the child’s parent as a way of gathering more information to ensure the service has adequate information to manage and respond to the child’s diagnosed health care need, allergy or medical condition as required. It is good practice to also include the date of the meeting with the child’s parent on the risk minimisation plan.

These plans should be reviewed annually, and at any stage throughout the year that a parent advises the service of a change to the child’s diagnosed health care need, allergy or medical condition .

Communications plan

The communications plan is a document to ensure that staff members and volunteers are aware of how the service manages any diagnosed health care needs, allergies or medical conditions of children at the education and care service. The document is also to be used to set out the process for ensuring that all staff members and volunteers are aware of which children have a diagnosed health care need, allergy or medical condition.

This communications plan must explain how relevant staff members and volunteers are informed about the medical conditions policy, the medical management and risk minimisation plans and how the parent of the child can communicate any changes to the diagnosed health need, allergy or medical condition of their child to the service (regulation 90).

This plan should also outline how the service will ensure staff members are made aware of any changes to the medical conditions policy and the process for the review of medical management and risk minimisation plans. For example, this may include meetings or training sessions run as part of the staff induction process.

Other policies and procedures relating to illness or injury

The service must also have policies and procedures in place in relation to the administration of first aid, incident, injury, trauma and illness procedures and dealing with infectious diseases (regulation 168). The service must ensure that staff members and any volunteers are aware of the policies, understand their application and ensure that they are followed (regulation 170) and these should be reviewed on a regular basis.

Services should ensure that all staff members are aware of the appropriate action to take when emergency medical treatment is required, which may involve following the medical management and risk minimisation plans for the child. Staff members must be made aware that they must not hesitate to call an ambulance if a child being educated and cared for at the service is seriously unwell or has sustained a serious injury or trauma. Calling an ambulance must be the first step even before informing the child’s parents.

The Department has developed the Serious incidents and complaints fact sheet to assist services to understand their obligations.

For more information, see: Children with medical conditions attending education and care services   

More information

Services may wish to consider some of the questions below to aid the discussion around managing diagnosed health care needs, allergies and medical conditions:

  • Has the child’s parent provided a medical management plan for the child?
  • Has a risk minimisation plan been developed in consultation with the parents of the child?
  • Has a communications plan been prepared?
  • Will it be necessary to adjust any of the usual practices of the service in order to be fully inclusive of the child?
  • Is the education and care program being delivered designed to take into account the individual differences of each child (section 168(1)(d))?
  • Do all aspects of the service’s operation consider the child’s inclusion at the program and to ensure that their safety, health and wellbeing is protected at all times?
  • What precautions may be necessary in order to protect the safety, health and wellbeing of the child?

The Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) is the national statutory authority governing the National Quality Framework.
Phone: 1300 422 327
Email: enquiries@acecqa.gov.au
Web: Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority

The Department of Education and Training is the Regulatory Authority in Victoria.
Phone: 1300 307 415
Email:licensed.childrens.services@edumail.vic.gov.au
Web: Regulation and Quality Assessment

Checklist of requirements to review at the start of a year and on a regular basis

The checklist below may be used by services to assist in the review of documentation, including enrolment records and policies and procedures in relation to diagnosed health care needs, allergies and medical conditions:

​Regulation​National Regulations​ActionTick
​r136  ​First aid  qualifications and training
  • ​Review educator qualifications and training to ensure they are:
     - approved
     - current

              

              
              

​r168​Policies and procedures
  • ​There is a policy/procedure in place for:
     - incident, injury, trauma and illness (regulation 85)
     - dealing with medical conditions (regulation 90)
     - dealing with infectious diseases (regulation 88)
  • The policies/procedures have been reviewed
     - necessary updates made            

 

​r90​Medical conditions policy
  • ​There is a medical conditions policy in place
  • The policy has been reviewed to ensure it includes all of the required information as per regulation 90
  • Staff members are aware of the policy and understand its application
​r91Medical conditions policy to be provided to parents​
  • ​There is a process for providing the policy to all parents with a child with a diagnosed health care need, allergy or relevant medical condition
  • The policy has been provided to all relevant parents
  • There is a procedure for notifying parents of any changes to the medical conditions policy

 

​r95​Procedure for administration of medication
  • ​Staff members have been made aware of the procedure for administering medication
  • Medication stored at the service has been reviewed to ensure it has not expired or passed the use by date
  • Medication received from a child’s parent is not expired or passed the use by date
  • Applies to all medication:
     - the medication is clearly labelled
     - the medication is in its original container
     - the medication is appropriately stored

 





 

​r160Child enrolment record​
  • ​New enrolment records for children with a diagnosed health care need, allergy or relevant medical condition contain:
     - authorisations set out in regulation 161
     - relevant health information set outin regulation 162, including:
    • medical management plan
    • risk minimisation plan
  • Existing enrolment records have been reviewed and parents contacted to confirm if the existing diagnosed health care need, allergy or relevant medical condition still applies AND whether any new needs have been diagnosed
  • New enrolment records have been reviewed to ensure that the information in relation to diagnosed health care needs, allergies or relevant medical conditions has been filled in or marked as n/a


 

 

 

 

 

​r161​Authorisations
  • ​Existing enrolment records have been reviewed to confirm if the following authorisations have been provided and parents contacted to confirm if they are still current:
     - authorisation for the approved provider, nominated supervisor or educator to seek:
    • medical treatment for the child from a registered practitioner, hospital or ambulance service
    • transportation of the child by an ambulance service
  • Obtained new authorisations if required
  • Confirm that the following authorisations have been provided for new enrolments:
     - authorisation for the approved provider, nominated supervisor or educator to seek:
    • medical treatment for the child from a registered practitioner, hospital or ambulance service
    • transportation of the child by an ambulance service
​r162​Health information
  • ​Existing enrolment records have been reviewed to confirm if all health information has been provided and parents contacted to confirm if it is still current
  • Obtain new information if required
  • New enrolment records have been reviewed to ensure all of the relevant information in regulation 162 has been filled in or marked as n/a
​r85-87​Incident, injury, trauma and illness
  • ​Incident, injury, trauma and illness policy has been reviewed to ensure it contains all of the information as required by regulation 85
  • Staff members are aware of the notification requirements and the process for recording incidents, injuries, trauma and illnesses
​r89​First aid kits
  • ​Conducted an audit of the first aid kits available at the service and assessed whether they meet the requirements of regulation 89
  • Changes made if required.